Change is difficult for all of us and major transitions in life are never easy. We find they are usually filled with stress, anxiety and, of course, some fear of the unknown. They do, however, become a bit easier when the transition is a path we have chosen for ourselves, instead of having it thrust upon us unexpectedly by outside influences. That is how the story of Elaine Adams and Steve Carroll begins.
In 2013 Elaine and Steve, along with their respective spouses, had signed up for future residency in the new expansion of Brazos Towers at Bayou Manor, where Houston’s savvy seniors move when they seek to turn their retirement into their own “re-inspire-ment”. Their individual goals for the future were the same. Move with their spouses to a community they chose together, while they were still young enough to enjoy the vibrant lifestyle available to them, to a place where they could be comfortable for many years to come. They would also have the added advantage of being closer to medical care, closer to cultural activities and most importantly closer to family. Their adult children were in full agreement – eager to have their parents in a community where they felt comfortable and “safe”.
Life then took an unexpected turn when the spouses of both Elaine and Steve passed away prior to the completion of their new home. Each of them independently decided to continue forward alone and follow through with the plans they had previously made with their loved ones.
In 2015 Elaine and Steve each moved into their separate apartments at Brazos Towers.
They began to encounter each other on a daily basis, particularly in the mornings when Elaine would go in search of her daily newspaper and Steve would be enjoying his “breakfast of champions” with friends in the dining room. One day when Elaine approached his table he looked up with a big smile and with a sparkle in his blue eyes he offered to share his breakfast with her. That’s when Steve began his process of wooing…wooing Elaine with Oatmeal and a banana. Not just any oatmeal – 100% whole grain Steel Cut Oats – which – he claims are MUCH better than your run of the mill oatmeal! It did the trick, Elaine was rightly impressed and they began their new journey of discovery together. They found they had a lot in common. Not only their love of oatmeal and bananas, and their positive dispositions, but they found they both had a great appreciation for the arts!
“It was just wonderful!” Elaine shares, “Not only to find someone living across the hall that I had so much in common with, but to be in an environment that made outings to cultural opportunities so easy and convenient”. “We love going to the Opera, the Symphony, the Ballet and of course STAGES! We really enjoy the intimate theatrical experience they always have to offer. And living at Brazos Towers makes it all so easy. They drop us off at the front door and are always right there to pick us up when the performance is over. It’s just so convenient!” says Elaine. “And I always appreciate how accommodating they are to those of us with mobility issues” says Steve. “When you let them know your situation in advance they do their best to make accessibility to your seats as easy as possible and it is deeply appreciated.”
Along with being a patron of the arts Elaine is also an avid bird watcher. Steve recalled a story she shared with him when they were first starting their courtship – a story about when she was on a beach watching a flock of seagulls go about their daily business. She said “The females were spending their time cleaning and primping themselves while the male terns were busy showing off, puffing themselves up, hunting their prey in hopes of finding fish to lay in front of their favorite lady birds.” Steve recounts, “It’s not much different than humans I guess. It’s just that Elaine responds much better to a hot bowl of oatmeal and a banana than she would have to a dead fish!” we all laugh! Good advice from a “Senior Casanova”!
Both Elaine and Steve feel blessed to have come into their new relationship with a strong foundation of experiences from past healthy relationships. With that in mind they wasted no time in tying the knot! When it came time for them to share the news of their shotgun wedding with their adult children they were surprised by the response they received. Their adult children were stunned by the news. “Married? You barely know each other! We thought when you moved to Brazos Towers you’d be ‘safe’! You really should take more time to get to know one other.” To which Steve responded “well, we don’t have as much time as we did when we were younger, so we just decided we’d better get on with it.” Once the adult children and grandchildren met and had an opportunity to get acquainted they found it didn’t take much time for them either. They found common ground in their hobbies, experiences they had had along with people they had all known in common. It just goes to show you – the world is smaller than you think.
So, what’s the moral of the story? It’s not over till it’s over and the fat lady sings. Until then expect the unexpected. Look forward to what life has in store for you every day. Stay connected and involved with things that bring you joy (like the arts!) and always embrace change regardless of how scary it may seem. You too may welcome an unexpected surprise. Who knows, when you need it the most you too may find that “love lives next door”!
We invite you to visit us at Brazos Towers at Bayou Manor and see how we have changed the whole idea of retirement living. Come and discover your “re-inspire-ment” at Brazos Towers at Bayou Manor.
We look forward to seeing all of you at Stages for many years to come!